Portsmouth Pensioners’ Association

Manifesto for May council elections May 2022

KEY PROPOSALS

A new ‘Making Portsmouth an Age Friendly City’ Strategy and Action Plan should be prepared by city council officers in conjunction with PPA, Age UK, U3A and other organisations representing older people in the city.

Collaboration between the Cabinet member and opposition spokespersons for health and social care and PPA officers should continue. PPA should be kept informed of developments with regard to residential and day care, and primary health care provision in the city

The problems of access to GP surgeries and NHS dental care should be given priority

To facilitate walking and cycling specialist cameras which record speed of traffic and vehicle licence plates should be installed in residential roads which are subject to speeding. Drivers breaking the law should be fined. Benches should be installed on major routes to shopping centres.

There should be a sustained effort to ensure that older people claim the benefits to which they are entitled, including pension credit, housing benefits, (PIPs) Personal Independence Payments, Disability Living Allowance etc. Desks should be set up in libraries, community centres and housing offices at which officers help the public complete their claims. Citizens Advice and Age UK should be involved in the project.

Official reports should avoid using ageist terms such as ‘the elderly’, and attributing financial problems to ‘ the ageing population’ – when austerity policies are largely to blame.

Official action should be concentrated in areas of the city with the highest deprivation affecting older people and where longevity is the shortest – the western neighbourhoods.

Funding should be provided for computer training for older people and how to avoid being the victims of scams.

A report should be prepared which makes a detailed analysis of the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on (old)er people in the city in terms of deaths, infections, long covid effects, and lockdown limits imposed on attendance at funerals, visiting loved ones in residential care, and social isolation in general.

A second report should be prepared on ‘lessons to be learnt’ from the pandemic and what improvements are needed to ensure that any future such event is handled effectively by authorities.

The Council should apply for a grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Ageing Better Fund to finance a series of projects and activities to reduce isolation on the part of those needing care – to be organised by the Independence and Wellbeing team.

The Flagship magazine should publish details of all the discounts and deals available from public agencies and private companies, to older people in the city

The annual 55+ Festival should be re-invigorated with adequate funding and ample preparation time and involvement of PPA and other organisations representing older people

N.B there are an estimated 33,138 people aged 65+ living in the city. A higher proportion of older people vote in local elections. The breakdown for by ward in 2022 is as follows.

Baffins – 2,839,

Central Southsea- 1,739,

Charles Dickens-2,478,

Copnor-2,269,

Cosham-2,674,

Drayton and Farlington-3,260 ,

Eastney and Craneswater– 2,346,

Fratton- 1,699,

Hilsea-2,606 ,

Milton-2,399,

Nelson-2,259,

Paulsgrove-2,430 ,

St Jude-1,968,

St Thomas-2,17

BUDGET BRIEFING FEBRUARY 2021

The municipal budget for the coming year has a ‘more of the same’ look about it. Details can be found on the PCC website and the full council meeting to agree the council tax and capital/revenue spending for the coming year is on Tuesday 9th.

The council tax will rise by 4.99%, with 3% of that is ‘passported’ for adult social care. So if you are in band A you will pay £1,215.50 and band F £3,643.52. Most households in the city are in bands C- £1,600 and band D – £1,800. (these totals include paying for police and fire and rescue services)

Again ‘SAVINGS’ have been made including £300,000 out of the social care budget which appears illogical and unfair given the increased amounts that council tax payers are being asked to contribute. Extra spending on ASC is needed it is stated because of ‘demographic pressures arising from a living longer population’, and paying a living wage to care staff.

Over the last decade PCC has made ‘savings’ (cuts) amounting to a total of £103 millions. Like many councils in the country Portsmouth has seen a major reduction in staff numbers, services and role. The reduction in government grant has meant that each household in the city has lost over a thousand pounds worth of services. Those in greatest need being impacted the most.

The revenue budget has seen a loss of income of £4.2 millions due to a reduction in parking charges and fines. Covid-19 has cost the council £33m which has been offset by Govt. grants worth £31m.

Proposals for the coming year include an extension of the food waste collection system (£300,000) and investment in a new multi purpose community leisure facility costing £12.5 million in Brandsbury Park on the site of the existing community centre. This project also involves the closure of the pool at the Pyramids, Eastney baths and Wimbledon Park sports hall. People in the Milton area may welcome this proposal in terms of access, but less so for the increased traffic it will bring to the district! There is also to be investment in football facilities in the north of the city, funding for Pompey in the Community and property developments in the Cosham area.

Amendments to these proposals will be proposed by political parties at the meeting (also available on PPC website) but these involve minor changes and are unlikely to alter the elements noted above. I believe the public are able to watch the budget meeting on- line if they choose to do so!

PORTSMOUTH CITY COUNCIL BUDGET 2019 BRIEFING

As usual the proposals for next year’s budget were outlined in December by the Liberal Democrat led Council. Final decisions will be made on 12 February, together with capital – investment/infrastructure proposals.

Since 2012 the council has made a total of £98 MILLIONS CUTS/SAVINGS, mainly caused by the reduction in central govt grants of £73 millions. This is equivalent to £935.90 per household in the city

A further £4 millions cuts are proposed for the coming year. This includes £966,000 ‘efficiency savings’ from the health and social care budget.

The present regime is following the previous Conservative led council in adopting a ‘borrow and invest’ strategy which they maintain and fund services. ‘The council is to continue acquiring new commercial property as a means of generating income to avoid cuts to council services’. The debt which PCC has currently amounts to £642 millions, and it is proposed that this should be increased. It has paid over £1millions to consultants to negotiate these investments. Thus far this financial investment from the Public Works Board at low interest appears to be paying dividends, but there is no guarantee that this will be the case in the future. Some commentators have asked why the government allows this situation to continue, given that councils are restricted from investing in social housing.

There is likely to be a 3 PERCENT increase in the council tax as well as a precept for funding social care